Verla Jamieson passed away on April 13, 2017, right in the midst of our latest medical adventures at University of Michigan Hospital. When my husband Tim heard the news, he immediately dictated a note from his ICU bed for me to give to Cal, Verla’s husband. The Boursaws and the Jamiesons go back a long way. For starters, Tim’s dad, Tug, and Cal both drove truck for the same company for years, and Tim was best friends with Jack Jamieson, Cal’s half-brother. And of course, we went to school with all the Jamieson kids.
I’ve been trying to put into words my thoughts about Verla’s passing. What can I say about someone who’s been a part of my life since the day I was born? And even though you know it’s coming – Verla had been ill for a while – it’s still such a seismic shock for the community when someone like Verla passes out of this world and into the next.
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Many of my memories of Verla are centered on church functions at Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church (known as Ogdensburg UMC when I was a kid). Both as a kid and now as a grownup, the Jamiesons have always been a constant in my church life, whether they were singing in the choir, ringing bells or volunteering for thousands of church dinners and events through the years. Verla always had a smile and a hug, not to mention a great sense of humor about whatever was going on.
And anyone who knew Verla knew that she was an awesome note-writer. If something was going on in my life, I could always count on Verla to send along a cheery note to lift my spirits. I mentioned recently to my church family that it will take a bunch of us to pick up the mantle of note-writing to even come close to filling Verla’s note-writing shoes.
Tim also reminded me that Verla had her own TV show about the agricultural industry on the Old Mission Peninsula and northern Michigan. If I’m not mistaken, I believe Deni Hooper eventually hosted this show, but someone correct me in the comments below if I’m wrong on that.
Cal and Verla have experienced a lot of loss in their lives, having lost both sons, John and Kim. I once asked them how they were able to keep going through all the darkness, and they said there really wasn’t any big secret – you just keep getting up every day and moving forward. There may not be a big secret, but getting up every day and moving forward is a huge challenge at times, and one that I know Cal and Verla approached with a strong faith in God.
I’ll miss Verla terribly, but knowing her and being mentored by her has been such a blessing in my life (she didn’t know she was a mentor, but she most definitely was). Rest in peace, Dear Verla. I will think of you every time I write a note, which I plan to do much more often now.
Visitation will take place on Tuesday, April 25, 5 to 8 p.m. at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, and 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26, at the Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church, followed by a celebration of her life at 11 a.m. at the church. The church is located at 16426 Center Road on the Old Mission Peninsula.
Here is Verla’s full obituary from Reynolds-Jonkhoff:
Traverse City – Verla Kay Jamieson, 86, of Traverse City passed away April 13, 2017 at Munson Hospice House surrounded by her family.
Verla was born on March 31, 1931 in Carson City to the late Charlie and Thelma (Brown) Miller. She graduated from Carson City High School. In 1953, Verla graduated from the E.W. Sparrow Hospital School of Nursing in Lansing, and during the final year of her study at Sparrow, she met her future husband, Calvin John Jamieson, a resident of the Old Mission Peninsula. Calvin and Verla were united in marriage by Verla’s grandfather, the Reverend Roy Miller, on July 4, 1953 in Carson City. Verla was a nurse in Kentucky while Cal was in the Army, and she later spent six years as a nurse at Munson Medical Center.
Verla will be remembered as a strong lady with a wonderful sense of humor. She loved basketball very much, and continued to coach from the sideline every game she watched in person or on TV. In high school, her tenacity resulted in the first woman’s basketball team in Carson City, which she played on. She was a good athlete, and was also a cheerleader for the men’s basketball and football teams. She was proud of the fact that that she could even out run the boys.
Verla loved her church and church family very much. She was very involved in her community. She helped run the family cherry orchard, was a member of the Old Mission Women’s Group and worked for Old Mission School in the cafeteria and on the playground. Verla was passionate about education and was a past president of the Old Mission Peninsula School Board. She was an advocate of conservation, and worked hard with the Land Conservancy to make sure the Old Mission Peninsula would have land that remained undeveloped, for future generations to enjoy. She also hosted a live agricultural TV show at the urging of Sen. George McManus, which her kids loved to watch.
Verla is survived by her husband Calvin; daughters Kelli (Glenn Christian) Larson, Karla Jamieson, Krista (Gerald) Becker, and Jamie (Brian) Jamieson-Burkholder; sister Vonna Montague; grandchildren Ryan Fouch, Ronald Becker, Tiffany Hodgson and Sarah Larson; great grandchildren Kylie Fouch, Alaska and Indigo Hodgson.
Verla was preceded in death by her parents Charlie and Thelma (Brown) Miller; sons Kim Charles and Calvin John II.
Please join the family for visitation on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 from 5 – 8 p.m. at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. The funeral service celebrating her life will be held on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at the Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church.
Those wishing an expression of sympathy may direct contributions to the Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church, 16426 Center Road, Traverse City, MI 49686.
❤️ Verla. We will miss her deeply. I loved to hear her laugh!
Such a big loss. She has been a very big part of my life for as long as I can remember. The list of ways she touched my life is very lengthy.
Jane God bless you for writing that. I first met Verla when started attending our church. Verla was not shy about expressing her opinions She was so good at anything she did. I so loved the notes from Verla after something I’d done for church. A great gift from her. And she loved naughty stories. Had a great laugh. Miss her always
Beautifully said Jane
She will be missed. She has been intricately part of our lives…generation to generation….loved me like one of her own… there for every significant event in my life. I know how blessed we have been and hope to carry those blessings forward. ❤️
I babysat with the three oldest children of Cal and Verla’s. She was a great lady and I’ll miss her
I wish I had lived her longer to have known her , she was a classy lady, and good pew patron at church.
I babysat for all their children they were a big part of my life growing up. She was such a fun loving person she will be greatly missed. Glad I had the chance to visit with her and Cal at my dads visitation last year.
Jane, thank you for such a beautiful tribute. Verla truly was one in a million! I loved her sense of humor, her compassion, her work ethic and her love of God. Back in the day, when I was trying to wrangle my brood at church on any given Sunday, she’d relate tales of when her kids were young, making sure I knew that I’d get through it. My life is better for having known her and I will miss her.